Rahul picks former bureaucrat Koppula Raju as new head of Congress core team
The Koppula Raju, 61, is an important Dalit face in the Congress and has headed its Scheduled Castes department since August 2013.india Updated: Jan 26, 2018 07:17 IST
Congress president Rahul Gandhi has handpicked former bureaucrat Koppula Raju as the new head of his core team, party functionaries familiar with the matter said on Thursday.
The 61-year-old Raju, who will now work from the Congress president’s 12 Tughlaq Lane residence, is an important Dalit face in the party and has headed its Scheduled Castes department since August 2013, working out of Congress HQ at 24 Akbar Road in the capital.
“Raju will be assisted in his new role by a team of professionals and young party leaders in handling Gandhi’s official work,” a party official said on condition of anonymity. “He is already in the process of finalising his team.”
Another senior official who asked not to be named said Haryana Congress chief Ashok Tanwar is likely to replace Raju as the head of the party’s Scheduled Castes department, while former union minister Kumari Selja, a prominent woman Dalit face of the party, could be appointed as the new head of the Haryana Congress.
A 1981-batch Indian Administrative Service (IAS) officer from the Andhra Pradesh cadre, Raju chose voluntary retirement in 2013. He was then serving as secretary in the National Advisory Council (NAC), a body set up by the then United Progressive Alliance government with then Congress president Sonia Gandhi as its chairperson.
The NAC, which ceased to exist soon after the NDA government came to power in 2014, was responsible for preparing the drafts of key legislative initiatives such as the Right to Information Act, Right to Education Act, the Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employee Guarantee Act and the Food Security bill.
Raju was also entrusted with organising the party’s year-long programme to celebrate the 125th birth anniversary of BR Ambedkar in 2015-16.
He has now been tasked with building Rahul’s team for the future, and is vetting about a hundred Congress leaders from across the country for organisational roles at the national and state levels, party officials said.
Gandhi is also expected to take a call on a change of guard in the party’s Madhya Pradesh, Odisha and Bihar units in the next few days.